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On October 1, 2015, Veteran Affairs Commissioner Lonnie Wangen was commissioned as a Kentucky Colonel the highest title of honor bestowed by the commonwealth of Kentucky honoring those who have dedicated their lives to civic service. Commissioner Wangen was nominated for this award as a result of his dedication to the service of veterans on a national level through his involvement in many organizations.

The Honorable Kentucky Colonels is rich in history and includes the likes of Astronaut John Glenn, English Prime Minister Winston Churchill, President Lyndon, B. Johnson, and countless others who have made a profound impact on humanity. Dating back to 1812, Kentucky has recognized many with this honor which has fostered a legacy of humanitarianism and charity. Harland “Colonel” Sanders is among the most well-known Kentucky Colonels.

This isn’t the first time Commissioner Wangen has been recognized for this dedication to the veteran population; also earning awards such as the National Association of State Directors of Veterans Affairs Iron Mike Award (2015), the American Legion Department Commander’s Award (2012), among others.

North Dakota Department of Veteran Affairs Commissioner Lonnie Wangen has served the state in this capacity since 2008, fostering a culture of profound veteran service through state, federal, and non-profit programming. Commissioner Wangen graduated high school from Harvey, North Dakota, later pursing his Bachelors of Science in Business from North Dakota State University. After completion of his undergraduate degree, he attended University of Mary earning two Masters Degrees in Management and Business Administration.

Commissioner Wangen also served North Dakota as an Army Guardsmen, dedicated 27 years to the North Dakota Army National Guard, serving in numerous roles such as deploying with the 142nd ECB to Iraq (2004-2004), numerous overseas training missions in countries such as Honduras, Korea, Germany, etc., accepted a direct commission and served as the State Construction Supervisor for Joint Force Head Quarters, and instructed engineering courses at Camp Grafton Regional Training Institute. He continues this legacy of service in many veteran organizations such as the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, American Veterans, VFW, VVA and others.

The Commissioner is the son of Floyd Wangen of Harvey and now calls Horace, North Dakota home where he lives with his wife of 19 years, Michele, and their two young sons.

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